Always Running Literary Elements

Always Running Literary Elements



Setting and Context

The story begins in the 1970 and then it continues until the present day. The action takes place in various neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is narrated by Luis from a first person subjective point of view.

Tone and Mood

Tragic, violent

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is presented as being Luis and the antagonists are various rival gang members and the LAPD.

Major Conflict

The major conflict in the novel is between the Latino gangs and the LAPD.


The story reaches its climax when Luis is jailed for trying to help a woman attacked by the police.


In the first chapter, Luis mentions how one Christmas he destroyed all his presents on purpose because he did not feel entitled to have things that were nice and that were working. This episode foreshadows the self-destructive path Luis will later take in life and how his actions were the result of his belief that he did not deserved to feel happy in life.


In chapter 5, Luis is told that his girlfriend Roberta cheated on him. This however proves to be an understatement as it is later revealed that Roberta was actually a prostitute.


Luis described the type of life he had growing up and he also talked about the unspoken rules dominating his community. For example, it was known among the Latinos that there were certain beaches that were ‘’white’’, that is used only by white people. Even though there were no laws regulating which public spaces a person could or could not use, the world was divided and there were unspoken laws segregating the white population from the Latino one. The author alludes that this attitudes affected the Latinos concerning their own worth and made them feel not worthy of taking benefit of the same things as the rest of the world.


In chapter 5, Luis mentions that rape is something considered as being normal in the community where he lives. Luis tells the readers that some gang members even tried to push Luis and his friend Chicharrón to rape a naked and unconscious woman but they refused. The image of the naked woman is however important as it transmits the idea that women were extremely vulnerable and that they were seen by many as just simple play things that could be thrown away if they lost their purpose.


The relationship Luis has with the gangs is paradoxical because while he does not like the violence and the toxic environment, he seeks to become part of various gangs, one more dangerous than the other.


Luis draws a parallel between himself and his good friend, Rano. Both boys started in the same neighborhood and had a tough life. They were both surrounded by violence and drugs but the path they took in life was completely different. Luis notes that in high school, Rano chose a different path. Instead of becoming a gang member like Luis, he focused on his studies and he eventually became a functional normal being, living a normal life.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

At the end of the preface, Luis mentioned that he wrote the novel for the Ramiros of the world. When he uses the word Ramiros, he refers to the children who came from disadvantaged families and who had no other choice but to enter a life of crime and violence. Luis and his son were two such people who became involved in gang related activities as a result of the life they had in their youth.


In the fifth chapter, when Luis attacked the bus driver he tells the readers that “the sky screamed.”

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